Employees are your most valuable asset; more important than your factory, your bank account, even your reputation. That’s especially true in service environments, where your employees ensure a positive customer experience. Even employees who are carefully hidden behind the scenes impact facility maintenance, ensure product quality and are a valuable source of innovative ideas. Strategies to retain employees require a high priority, but how do you accomplish this goal?
If you’re lucky enough to have a dream team working for your company right now, then the last thing you want is for them to leave or seek other employment opportunities. The main reason why your employees choose to leave your company is that they don’t feel appreciated, or because they don’t see any future for their career aspirations at your firm. By dealing with this pro-actively and by showing employees that you care, you help keep your employees loyal to your company and ensure high morale that translates to high customer service levels and high performance.
Poor working conditions not only work against efforts to retain your employees, but they also act like a sieve that allows your best employees to leave for greener pastures while clogging the company with low-quality employees who stay with the company only because they have no better options.
Your employees need to feel secure in their job. Learn employee’s names and greet them by name whenever you encounter them during the day. Let employees know that their contributions are valuable to the success of the entire organization, whether they clean the bathrooms or offer strategic advice as part of upper management. Everyone is important.
Communication is critical for employee retention. Let them know about any rule changes that are anticipated and seek their input on the direction of the company in aspects that impact their jobs. If you’re constantly making huge changes around the company and not telling your team why it creates uncertainty that can cripple an organization. It can also make them feel like their job is at risk, and this can be detrimental to their work performance.
Your employees should always know your expectations of them. If your team is constantly being used to fulfill different roles and face different expectations employees feel like they never get a handle on what’s expected of them.
This can also make employees feel unskilled, which is the last thing that you want when you are trying to retain employees. If you do need to change the role of an employee so that it is more in-line with your company structure, then you need to communicate with them openly, preferably allowing them input into the decision. They also need to know what to do in order to please you, so they can set their own working goals.
Honest Working Environments
It’s so important that you create an honest and open working environment. You need to give feedback on work, and you also need to listen to them when they have a problem and show you’re willing to help solve the problem amicably. Sure, you may find that you bump into your employees from time to time in the hall, or even have lunch from time to time but this just isn’t good enough. Chances are your employees will only feel comfortable broaching sensitive or underlying issues when in a formal setting, so take the time to set meetings for each team member once a year. Accept any suggestions that they have when it comes to solving problems, and also address concerns that they have. Rumors can often take over a workplace and this is especially the case if you’re planning to make major changes, but by maintaining a good and honest working environment, you ensure your employees have the peace of mind they need.
If you are not providing your team with the opportunities they need to grow and learn, then you aren’t helping them at all. Provide them with learning resources so that they can become better at their job, and also let them focus their time on projects that they’re passionate about. Let them know any plans that you have for their career, and always let them know that there is room for them to grow within your company. By doing this, you can then begin to give them the help and support they need to see a future with you, as well as do a better job of serving your customers.
Recognize Good Work
Recognition goes a long way. When you recognize your employees, make sure that you are specific, and that you reference something that you are proud of. This could be the way that they dealt with a client, or it could even be the way that they handled a project. If you want to retain your employees, you need to make your employees feel appreciated and respected, and this is one of the best ways for you to do that.
Don’t fall for the trap of thinking you don’t have enough money to reward employees for their good work. Often a simple thank you or mention of their great work in your newsletter is the perfect form of recognition.
Benefits Packages and Rewards
Employees love perks and benefits. If you can, you really need to make sure that you offer a package that is in-line with the personality of your employees. For example, if your team is quite active in fitness, then give them a free gym membership. If you aren’t quite sure, then a retirement savings plan is always good. Flexitime, telecommuting, and even health insurance can also go a really long way in helping retain your employees.
If you do happen to know that an employee is leaving, or if they have mentioned the concept before, then it helps to conduct a “stay” interview. This is where you ask them why they are planning on leaving, and even what you can do to try to make them stay. Find out what they love about your company, and what made them come to work for you in the first place, as well. By doing this, you give them the additional help and support they need, and you can also work out any issues that they may be having, possibly avoiding their plans to leave the company.
Promote from Within
You really don’t want to hire extra team members to do jobs that your current team can readily accomplish. Show your team that they can advance within your company and also that you are willing to promote them if they continue to grow and support your efforts. By doing this, you can then help them define a future for themselves and you can also help them see that you genuinely have an interest in their development.
Your managers should always spend time with your employees and they should also be happy to work with them if they need additional support. Managers should be role models for their staff, emulating the values and performance expectations of the company. Managers who shirk this duty, cause your employees to feel neglected and unappreciated. For this reason, you need to sit down with managers and tell them clearly what you want them to do, and what goals you have in mind for them, as well. This will help you really give them the support they need to foster a good working relationship with your team.
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